Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Comcast and NBC form media giant

NBC peacock sign
NBC has been struggling with a downturn in advertising

The cable TV provider Comcast has agreed to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal (NBCU), creating a media superpower in the US.

Comcast will acquire a 51% stake in NBCU in a deal worth $13.75bn (£8.3bn).

NBCU owns the NBC television network, Universal Pictures, and cable networks such as Bravo and CNBC, as well as the Universal Studios theme parks.

Consumer groups have voiced concerns about one company having so much power over the entertainment industry.

General Electric, which previously owned 80% of NBCU, will be left with a 49% stake.

France's Vivendi, which had owned the other 20%, has sold its entire stake to Comcast.

'Anytime, anywhere'

The deal could lead to films being shown on cable TV more quickly after being released in the cinema, and TV shows appearing faster on mobile devices.

The joint venture will be managed by Comcast. Jeff Zucker, the current president and chief executive of NBCU, will be chief executive of the new venture.

"This deal is a perfect fit for Comcast and will allow us to become a leader in the development and distribution of multiplatform 'anytime, anywhere' media that American consumers are demanding," said Comcast chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts.

"In particular, NBCU's fast-growing, highly profitable cable networks are a great complement to our industry-leading distribution business."

Comcast and General Electric will hope that the venture will be more successful than the 2001 merger of AOL and Time Warner.

AOL bought Time Warner at the very top of the dotcom boom for $147bn, but struggled to integrate the two companies.



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